The standard meaning of "affordable housing" is housing that is affordable to households with low incomes, meaning that these households pay no more than 30% of their income for rent/mortgage and utilities.
"Low income" is defined based on the area median income (or "AMI") of the city or county. Typically, households are considered "low-income" if they earn no more than 80% of AMI. Households earning under 50% of AMI are very low-income, and those earning under 30% of AMI are extremely low-income.
In Orange County, the AMI for 2020 is $90,900
80% of AMI = $50,900 for one person and $72,700 for a family of four
50% of AMI = $31,850 for one person and $45,450 for a family of four
30% of AMI = $19,100 for one person and $27,250 for a family of four
Affordable Housing Statistics
Fair market rent (or "FMR") of a two-bedroom apartment (2019)
North Carolina: $737
Orange County: $902
Income needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment at FMR (2019)
North Carolina: $35,256 ($16.95 per hour)
Orange County: $42,200 ($20.29 per hour)
Mean wage earned by renters
North Carolina: $15.29 per hour
Orange County: $14.12 per hour
In 2019, an Orange County renter earning the mean wage ($14.12) would need to work 112 hours per week to afford the fair market rent for a standard two-bedroom apartment ($902).